Frequently asked questions

How much does my water cost?

Year commencing 1 July 2016
Part 1
Access charge based on your meter size
Plus Part 2
Usage charge $2.30 per kilolitre up to 250kls
Usage charge $3.32 per kilolitre after 250kls
(1 kilolitre = 1000 litres)
Access charges
Meter size Cost (p.a.)
20mm $281
25mm $434
32mm $706
40mm $1,099
50mm $1,713
80mm $4,368
100mm $6,822
150mm $15,339
200mm $27,685

How much water does a general household use?

Below is a quick reference chart to assist you to find out how much water your household uses.

Usage Rates for Household Water Use


  • 12 litre/single flush
  • 6 litres/half flush

Your toilet consumes most of your water, remember to check it for leaks.

The most common source of leaks is the toilet. Check toilets for leaks by placing a few drops of food colouring in the tank. If after 15 minutes the dye shows up in the bowl, the toilet has a leak.


  • bath 50-150 litres/bath
  • shower 40-250 litres/shower
  • basin 5 litres/use
  • brushing teeth 5 litres/clean (if tap running)


  • sprinkler 1000 litres/hour
  • car washing with a hose 200 litres/12 minutes
  • hosing driveway 125 litres/5 minutes


  • twin tub 40 litres/load
  • front loading machine 100 litres/load
  • top loading machine 170 litres/load

Tenants and landlords - who pays?

Check with your property manager or landlord to find out how your water account is paid. Your tenancy agreement will also indicate whether water usage accounts are passed on to the tenant.

If I get a water tank, will I save money?

Yes, you can reduce your water usage costs by using tank water. There may, however, be a few points to consider. Here are some details to assist you but you will need to do your sums to see what may work for you.

Business customers may gain benefit from a water tank in two ways; use of rainwater and/or trickle feeding town water to a storage to reduce the meter size.

Using rainwater will reduce your water usage costs, but there are requirements to consider. NSW Health does not recommend the use of rainwater for consumption or where a town water supply exists. Using tank water outdoors is fine, for example in your gardens and it is also OK to use tank water for flushing toilets and the cold water supply to a washing machine. Check with NSW Health in Port Macquarie as to what restrictions may apply to your business. (Department of Health can also provide circulars on the proper maintenance of rainwater tanks).

Also, Council does have regulations on where and how you place a water tank for safety and amenity reasons. For example, there is a size limit in urban areas and you must have a first-flush device fitted. Council can supply you with more details on enquiry.

Some of Council's high-use water business customers have investigated the option of trickle feeding town water to a storage tank. They sought the advice of a hydraulics engineer to determine the minimum meter size to meet fire-fighting requirements and what costs/benefits a trickle feed system has for their businesses.

How often are water meters read?

Council now reads water meters on a quarterly basis. Water meters are read in September, December, March and June. The water meter should, at all times, be easily accessible. It is important to ensure that the meter is not buried, overgrown with bushes or shrubs or covered in any way to prevent access for either the person reading the meter or, in the case of an emergency, should the water need to be turned off.

How are water restriction levels uniform across regions?

Water restrictions have recently been made uniform across the NSW North Coast Region from the Great Lakes area to the Tweed Shire.

This basically means that Kempsey Shire's Level 1 restrictions are similar to Hastings Shire Council's Level 1 restrictions and Kempsey Shire's Level 2 restrictions are similar to Hastings Level 2 restrictions etc. It does not mean that all the Councils or water utilities in this area have to be on the same restriction level at the same time.

The uniformity of water restrictions helps the community more accurately compare how their water supply is coping compared to neighbouring areas. It also means that Northern NSW residents are aware of what restrictions would be imposed at each restriction.

Even though we do not presently have water restrictions our Shire, Council needs the help of all its residents and visitors by being Waterwise. This means:

  • Understanding the local Kempsey watercycle
  • Not wasting or taking water for granted
  • Protecting our valuable water supplies so they are sustainable

The Kempsey Water Cycle is reliant upon the flow of the Macleay River. As we all know, the flow of the river is governed by rainfall in the upper Macleay catchment area (the area around Armidale and Walcha). Heavy rainfall in the Kempsey Shire does not necessarily mean a high river flow and no water restrictions.

Kempsey Shire has 5 stages of water restrictions. Staged water restrictions are imposed when Macleay River flows at rates below certain percentile bands. A flow percentile band is the percentage of time for which the river flows at a given rate. This rate is based on historically recorded figures.

For further information on the Kempsey Water Cycle please refer to graphic below (click on image to enlarge).

macleay water cycle

How often are the water mains flushed in Kempsey Shire?

Due to better water management, Council no longer undertakes water mains flushing. However, if your water is dirty please contact Council on 02 6566 3200 and we will endeavour to rectify the situation.